I'm Tara.

I'm just a silly little girl who likes to go places and tell her silly little stories.

SLK documents the adventures I've had across 5 continents & who I've become on my journeys. 

You can read my full story in the 'About' tab! 

10 perks of NOT traveling alone

10 perks of NOT traveling alone

"Happiness is only real when shared."

- Christopher McCandless

What I think McCandless meant to say is that happiness is more tangible, magnified even, when shared. 

As someone who values her alone time, it should come as no shock that I genuinely like to travel alone. There are a lot of perks to solo travel. Like gaining confidence from eating alone or how you can make your own itinerary without compromise. I adore walking the roads of a new city alone with my thoughts and my iPod.

But, ya know what? I love traveling with others. I am {maybe surprisingly} an introvert. The caveat to that is if you are in my inner circle, in which case I don't think I ever shut up... I totally understand that traveling with others can be testing at times. Traveling with people I know, love, and trust has massive benefits and advantages that I think sometimes get overlooked in an attempt for people to feel 'brave' traveling solo. And, to an extent, I totally get it. Having only yourself to depend on while on the move can take some courage. But sharing experiences with the people you care about is pretty special...

Momma T: together we've taken on teenage angst, my nose piercing, and, like...most of Europe and the continental U.S...military life, ya dig? Also, a slew of shamelss selfies

Momma T: together we've taken on teenage angst, my nose piercing, and, like...most of Europe and the continental U.S...military life, ya dig? Also, a slew of shamelss selfies

1. Splitting costs

Now, let's not be crazy. I'm not talking about having to pay for other people's extravagant purchases, thus breaking your budget. I'm talking about things like lodging or transport-- things you'd already be spending on. Renting a car for a road trip {not to mention the petrol used to fill the car} is cheaper when split with a group. Our accommodation in New York was dirt cheap thanks to there being 4 of us, allowing us to spend more money on other things. Renting a car to camp around the South Island with Whitney was much more doable on a student's budget thanks to sharing the bill. 

2. Photo opportunities are bountiful

There are ways to snap wonderful 'bloggy' pics of yourself while traveling alone. That's why the tripod and self-timer were invented. But, when you're traveling with other people, you have another set of hands and eyes so that no Instagram opportunity goes to waste. I've had friends snap candids of me while traveling that are even better than the posed pics I had in mind. One of my favourite things to do is exchange candids post-trip with mates. And taking turns behind and in front of the camera with the people you love is always a good time in my book. 

Touk: together we've taken on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Hong Kong; Hanoi, Vietnam; Nong Khiaw + Luang Prabang, Laos; and 'the man' {cue the chant "hell no, we won't go"}

Touk: together we've taken on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Hong Kong; Hanoi, Vietnam; Nong Khiaw + Luang Prabang, Laos; and 'the man' {cue the chant "hell no, we won't go"}

3. Brain power

Navigating new streets, language barriers, sorting out your new locale's currency...it can all be thrilling and also exhausting. With more than one mind working on an 'obstacle' or situation, all things are easier, amirite? 

4. Anecdotes and inside jokes for days

When post-travel blues creep up or you get that surreal 'did any of that actually happen?!' feeling, it's nice to have someone to share in the reminiscing. My fellow volunteers from Laos the first time 'round and I have met up sporadically since 2015 and we always burst into laughing-tears about the time we went in search of a waterfall that ended in a popped bicycle tire, near-hallucination-inducing dehydration, and us bargaining with a local to give us a lift back to our boat. Tash and I still get nostalgic about the craziness that was South America. Or the time I got another stupid tattoo in Nashville. 

Tash: together we've taken on Nashville; New York City; Swallowfield + London, U.K.; Argentina; Chile; Peru; one shitty tattoo and too many concerts to count. {Also Chelsea, who I've been able to hang with at Homegrown + in New York City!} 

Tash: together we've taken on Nashville; New York City; Swallowfield + London, U.K.; Argentina; Chile; Peru; one shitty tattoo and too many concerts to count. {Also Chelsea, who I've been able to hang with at Homegrown + in New York City!} 

5. Getting outside of your comfort zone

I've had experiences I would never have had on my own. Like throwing myself off a bridge. I went luge-ing during a road trip pit stop in New Zealand with Benner and S when it was not even on my radar. I tried traditional dim sum in Hong Kong with Touk that I would never have dared ordered on my own. Sometimes your partners in exploration will convince you to attempt something you never thought about trying previously or didn't even know was an option! 

6. Long layovers aren't so terrible

You have someone to struggle through 14 hours in LAX with. Goes without saying, it's better with company. 

Keegan, together we've taken on Melbourne, Australia; New York City, USA; and too many hungover brunches

Keegan, together we've taken on Melbourne, Australia; New York City, USA; and too many hungover brunches

7. You get to know your people seriously well

The best example I have of this is Tash. When Tash and I first started traveling together...we were barely friends. I mean, we were friends. But we were not the 'best friends' we are today. We knew each other. Ran in the same circle. Spent time together within our crew of Palmerston North misfits. That kind of thing. Now, Tash knows me better than almost anyone. She's seen me cry, laugh my hardest, look like an absolute fool, make difficult decisions, and triumph. You learn your travel partner's sleep patterns, music preferences, political views, how they spend their money, relationship history...the lot. And, to me, it's a true test of friendship or other relationship. 

8. "What's yours is mine"

I've borrowed S's toothpaste every time I've visited his family in New Zealand. I've used Tash's hairbrush in England. I've also lent sweaters or extra socks. You get the picture. If you forget something, there is less of a need to rush to the nearest convenience store or struggle to break the language barrier in search of aloe vera. 

S: together we've taken on Sydney, Australia; Niagara Falls, Canada + USA sides; Auckland, Queenstown + Wellington, New Zealand; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; London, U.K.; and life

S: together we've taken on Sydney, Australia; Niagara Falls, Canada + USA sides; Auckland, Queenstown + Wellington, New Zealand; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; London, U.K.; and life

9. Personal cheerleader for any emergency

You got robbed in Argentina. You are in a relationship you can't navigate in a country you also cannot navigate. A ladyboy in Bangkok just confirmed how bad your eyebrows look after six months without waxing. Whatever the crisis, having a significant other/friend/parent around on your trip in your time of peril makes things seem more manageable. Sure, you're a tough woman who can take on any challenge on her own. But isn't it nice to have someone there to drink a gin & tonic with and ponder the universe alongside? 

10. Unknowingly being prompted to better yourself

This is a true observation of the traveling with other people-- you will have important conversations that will spark self-reflection. With Tash, it was a conversation in a Peruvian hostel late one night that made me think hard about self-acceptance. With Luke, it was a passing comment about the American reputation. I've had multiple moments with S in Sydney and London and even little Upper Hutt that have stuck with me and catalyzed my efforts towards self-improvement and reflection. 

Bailey: together we've taken on Sedona, Arizona; Vancouver, B.C.; Thailand; Greece; and every cross country meet in the state of South Dakota

Bailey: together we've taken on Sedona, Arizona; Vancouver, B.C.; Thailand; Greece; and every cross country meet in the state of South Dakota

Moral of these many stories: traveling alone is great, but don't let every other travel blogger on the internet fool you-- traveling with people you love isn't too shabby either

you can't put an embargo on my love

you can't put an embargo on my love

life lately: 7

life lately: 7